Sofia Court Upholds 10-Year Sentence of Ex Spy Chief

Crime | May 20, 2016, Friday // 16:26
Bulgaria: Sofia Court Upholds 10-Year Sentence of Ex Spy Chief Kircho Kirov, the former head of the National Intelligece Service (currently renamed to State Intelligence Agency. File photo, BGNES

The Military Court of Appeals in Sofia has confirmed that former national intelligence head Kircho Kirov is to serve 10 years behind bars.

In August of last year, the Sofia Military Court found him guilty of embezzlement.

He was indicted in 2013 on charges of misappropriating BGN 4.7 M (approximately EUR 2.35 M) in public funding while in office.

Kirov, who maintains the trial is politically motivated, also says the money was used to recruit informants to what was called National Intelligence Agency at the time (under the new legislation on intelligence passed in the autumn, the body is now called State Intelligence Agency).

The Military Court of Appeals, however, acquitted him of document forgery (in relation to the embezzlement, with prosecutors arguing he created fake documents to justify the expenses)

It also reduced a 15-year ban on holding public offices imposed by the first instance court, shortening it to 13 years.

Kirov headed the intelligence agency between 2002 and 2012. Afterwards he took over as security adviser to Prime Minister Boyko Borisov (during his first term of office), but was hastily dismissed.

On Friday he told Focus News Agency that the court's ruling was again political and was linked to the ongoing judicial reform and the forthcoming presidential election.

Kirov is Bulgaria's first ever security chief to be sentenced to imprisonment.

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Tags: Boyko Borisov, Military Court of Appeals, State Intelligence Agency, National Intelligence Agency

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